There are few things as irksome as chasing after a customer who hasn’t cleared their dues. Your business has done the work, and you deserve to be paid, but all attempts to clear the outstanding AR have been fruitless. Now, you think about your options.
If your business prides itself on its customer service, then you may hesitate to use the services of a debt collection agency. For example, if your business is a hospital, a veterinarian clinic, or a dentist’s office, then some of the myths about using a debt collector could seem discouraging.
Undoubtedly, some of the industry is to blame for this negativity. For every ten principled debt collectors out there, one may not play by the rules. But the regulations surrounding the profession are more restrictive than you might think. Here are a few things a debt collector can’t do.
#1 A Debt Collector Can’t Call Repeatedly
Sometimes, the pressure of repeated phone calls can break a customer down. One of the ways this is done is through robocalls, which can be programmed to dial a customer a few hours every day. Because the more sophisticated version of robocall software reroutes from a different number, the calls can be difficult to block. However, this form of unwanted and persistent behavior is considered harassment and is illegal.
#2 A Debt Collector Can’t Call at Inappropriate hours
Usually, a debt collector can only call your customer during business hours. The time varies from locality to locality, but a debt collector may not call in the middle of the night or the early hours of the morning for instance. Such attempts to pressure a customer by depriving them of sleep is considered a dirty tactic.
#3 A Debt Collector Can’t Abuse
Although it’s unusual for a debt collector to insult a customer by using obscene language or by passing personal and humiliating remarks, some, who have become heavily invested in collecting a debt, do go this route. This can be especially true for those who have purchased a debt outright or have spent time and resources chasing down a customer. Regardless, abusive behavior is against the code of conduct of debt collectors.
#4 A Debt Collector Can’t Use Below the Belt Pressure Tactics
A skilled debt collector can gather all sorts of information about your customer. Using this, they could be tempted to visit their place of employment or the homes of their family members, with the belief that they could humiliate them into making a payment. If this is the intent, then such visits are not lawful.
#5 A Debt Collector May Not Threaten with Bodily Harm
This might seem obvious, but a debt collector can’t threaten your customer with violence of any sort or misrepresent themselves. For instance, debt collectors may consider falsely identifying themselves as lawyers or police officers in order to threaten a customer with jail time. This is most certainly illegal.
When partnering with a collection agency, it’s easy for you to avoid those that resort to such tactics. With a little diligence, you can have your debt collected in a manner that’s both ethical and legal.
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